Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (567)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

567. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) in County Kildare was refused a medical card. [30206/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated contact service for members of the Oireachtas specifically for queries relating to medical cards and GP visit cards, which the Deputy may wish to use for an earlier response. Contact information has recently reissued to Oireachtas members.

HSE Properties

Questions (568)

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

568. Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Health if the Health Service Executive has indicated its plans in respect of using a building (details supplied) in Dublin 7; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30225/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Management of the healthcare property portfolio is a service matter. Therefore your question has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Eligibility

Questions (569)

Gerry Adams

Question:

569. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Health if there is an age limit which precludes a dementia patient under the age of 65 years from availing of the fair deal scheme to enter a nursing home that caters for dementia sufferers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30226/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Anyone who is assessed as requiring long-term nursing home care can avail of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, regardless of age. Furthermore, the legislation underpinning the Scheme provides that individuals can choose their nursing home, subject to the availability of a bed and the ability of the nursing home to meet their care needs. However, it is a matter for the nursing home to determine whether it is in a position to meet an individual's care needs. In doing so, it must have regard to any conditions attached to its registration by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).

When HIQA commenced the registration and inspection process in 2009, it applied certain conditions similar to the one referred to by the Deputy, i.e. that accommodation could not be provided to persons with dementia aged under 65 years. However from 2011 nursing home providers were invited to apply for a variation to their original registration, including the circumstances referred to by the Deputy, if they so wished. While a number of providers availed of this alternative approach, others chose not to. However, I understand that the application process in these circumstances does not normally give rise to any undue delay.

Disabilities Services Funding

Questions (570)

Joan Collins

Question:

570. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the Health Service Executive funding for adult day services in Stewarts Hospital, Palmerstown, County Dublin, particularly in view of the fact that it relates to the next group of 18 year olds that would have expected to transfer to that service from this coming September; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30228/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Although the 2013 allocation for disability services has been reduced by 1.2%, the Health Service Executive (HSE) National Service Plan includes an additional €4m to provide training places and day services for school-leavers and Rehabilitative/Lifeskills Training (RT) graduates in 2013. This funding is being allocated to each HSE Region based on its percentage of population. Both the voluntary sector and the HSE are committed to the best use of the funding in a creative and flexible manner so as to secure as many places as possible for this cohort.

The demand for services for school-leavers continues to grow. The HSE expects that approximately 700 young people who have finished their education or life-skills training will require services in 2013. Providing the level of services required within the additional funding provided will continue to be a challenge. Work in this area will be progressed largely in line with the HSE guidance document developed in 2012, which led to the successful placement of 99% of RT graduates and 96% of school leavers last year. It is envisaged that plans will be completed for each region shortly and submitted to Area Managers, Regional Specialists and Regional Director of Operations for agreement. Arising from completed and approved plans, a communication process will be agreed with service providers to inform families of the services that will be available from September 2013.

In respect of the specific question asked by the Deputy, as it relates to service matters I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Home Help Service Provision

Questions (571)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

571. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the position regarding extra home help hours in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30229/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Nursing Home Accommodation

Questions (572)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

572. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if he will explain the way the Health Service Executive in Tralee, County Kerry, refused to hand back the subsidy granted to a facility that was provided for buildings for the elderly in Ventry, County Kerry (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30237/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Home Help Service Staff

Questions (573)

Robert Troy

Question:

573. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if he will provide a breakdown of the current regulations that determine the retirement age of home help workers within the Health Service Executive; and if he will outline the current retirement procedures that are applied to home help workers. [30240/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

While the HSE employs a significant number of home helps directly, the majority of home helps working in the health service are employed by organisations working on behalf of the HSE.

There are no specific regulations governing the retirement age of home helps within the HSE or broader health service. Retirement age, if any, can vary depending on the nature of the contract held, whether the person is an employee of the HSE or working for an organisation providing services on its behalf. The compulsory retirement age of 65 has been removed for staff members defined as "new entrant public servants", enabling staff to remain in work longer should they wish, subject to suitability and health requirements. I have asked the HSE to reply directly to the Deputy, outlining the different circumstances that may arise for its staff or staff working on its behalf.

Hospital Services

Questions (574)

Seán Kenny

Question:

574. Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Health the reason Dexa scans are unavailable to public patients in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9; his plans to have this service available to public patients; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30255/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In relation to the specific query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Nursing Staff Provision

Questions (575)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

575. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health if he will consider the possibility of setting up a national transfer policy for nurses currently in the employment of the Health Service Executive who are seeking transfers to other HSE regions; the implications of adopting such a policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30261/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Nursing Staff Recruitment

Questions (576)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

576. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health if he will provide, in tabular form, per Health Service Executive region, information on the number of nurses that are on a national panel for current or future vacancies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30262/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Medical Card Numbers

Questions (577)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

577. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Health if he will provide details on the number of persons who attended general practitioners based in each of the health centres in County Limerick during the years 2011 and 2012 with full medical cards and those who attended with GP visit cards. [30268/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS) is not configured to provide the figures as requested by the Deputy. General Practitioners participating in the GMS Scheme are paid a monthly capitation fee per patient regardless of the number of times the patient attends the GP. Consequently, information on the frequency of attendance to a GP of eligible persons is not captured.

Nationally, at 31st December 2012 there were 131,102 eligible persons holding GP Visit Cards and 1,853,877 eligible persons holding Medical Cards. The following table shows the number of eligible persons holding GP Visit Cards and Medical Cards at 31st December 2012 in North Tipperary/East Limerick and Limerick Local Health Office areas.

LHO AREA

NUMBER OF ELIGIBLE PERSONS ON GP VISIT CARDS

as at 31st December 2012

NUMBER OF ELIGIBLE PERSONS ON MEDICAL CARDS as at 31st December 2012

NORTH TIPPERARY/EAST LIMERICK

2,470

31,506

LIMERICK

5,475

80,411

Primary Care Strategy

Questions (578)

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

578. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Health if a date has been set for the rolling out of the free general practitioner scheme for children with special needs. [30285/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

No date has been set, nor was a commitment given to set a date, for the provision of a general practitioner scheme for children with special needs. However, the Government is committed to introducing, on a phased basis, a universal GP service without fees within its first term of office, as set out in the Programme for Government and the Future Health strategy framework. This policy constitutes a fundamental element in the Government's health reform programme. There has been no change to the Government's over-arching commitment to this goal. This Government is the first in the history of this State to have committed itself to implementing a universal GP service for the entire population.

Currently, I am exploring a number of alternative options with regard to the phased implementation of a universal GP service without fees. Minister Reilly and I expect to report back to the Cabinet Committee in the near future. As part of this work, consideration will be given to the approaches, timing and financial implications of the phased implementation of this universal health service. This Government is determined to expedite the implementation of a national GP service for the entire population, something to which no previous Government has ever aspired.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Provisions

Questions (579, 592)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

579. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to concerns regarding the proposal to increase the levy on the assets of nursing home residents from 5% to 7.5% (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30294/13]

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Finian McGrath

Question:

592. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health his views regarding the nursing home support scheme and the implications of the levy increase on nursing home residents (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30469/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 579 and 592 together.

The over-65 population recorded in Census 2011 was 535,393, an increase of 14.4% from 2006. Compared to population growth of 8.2% in the State as a whole, this is one of the age groups which experienced greatest growth over the period. The funding available for services for older people is not increasing at the same rate as the population. The State has limited resources. However, the demands being made of these resources continue to increase. The increase to the asset contribution is necessary to support the sustainability of the Scheme. Notwithstanding that, it must be stressed that the Nursing Homes Support Scheme remains an extremely generous one. Even after these changes take effect, the State will continue to meet by far the greater part of the cost of care in the majority of cases, with nursing home residents making a much smaller contribution.

The Scheme contains several important safeguards which ensure that both the person in the nursing home and their spouse/partner, if applicable, are adequately provided for:

- Nobody will pay more than the actual cost of care.

- The first €36,000 for a person's assets, or €72,000 for a couple, is not taken into account during the financial assessment.

- The principal residence is only included in the financial assessment for the first three years of a person's time in care.

- Where an individual's assets include land and property in the State, the contribution based on such assets may be deferred and collected from their estate. This is the optional Nursing Home Loan element of the scheme.

- Individuals keep a personal allowance of 20% of their income, or 20% of the maximum rate of the State Pension (Non-Contributory), whichever is the greater.

- If there is a spouse/partner remaining at home, s/he will retain 50% of the couples income, or the maximum rate of the State Pension (Non-Contributory), whichever is the greater.

- Certain items of expenditure, called allowable deductions, can be taken into account during the financial assessment. These allowable deductions include health expenses.

- There is a financial review mechanism which takes account of the fluctuating value of assets and the fact that cash assets will naturally deplete over time as payments are made to the nursing home etc.

Suicide Prevention

Questions (580)

Derek Keating

Question:

580. Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Health if he will present in a detailed report in tabular form a breakdown of the extra €35 million spending on suicide prevention that he has committed to this year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30295/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

€35 million additional funding was provided in Budget 2013 for the continued development of our mental health services. This funding is being used primarily for the further development of forensic services, community mental health teams for adults, children and older persons and for mental health intellectual disability and partly to advance activities in the area of suicide prevention. This includes €1 million for the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) for the continued implementation of the Reach Out Suicide Prevention Strategy, approximately €0.5 million for the further roll-out of the Suicide Crisis Assessment Nurse (SCAN) project which allows for crisis interventions at primary care and approximately €2.2 million to implement the Clinical Programme to Address Self Harm in Emergency Departments.

Funding for suicide prevention is provided to the NOSP by the HSE from its overall budget for mental health. Over €8 million (including the additional €1 million referred to above) is provided to NOSP to fund voluntary and statutory agencies delivering services in the area of prevention, intervention, postvention and research. In addition, some €5 million is provided regionally from the general HSE budget to fund HSE Resource Officers for Suicide Prevention, Self-Harm Liaison Nurses in Hospital Emergency Departments and local suicide prevention initiatives.

The NOSP has been reviewing its current activities to make the most of our available resources, including looking at best practice internationally to inform evidence-based policy decisions. This will result in a revised strategic approach for the remainder of 2013 and will inform the final phase of Reach Out, which runs until 2014. I expect that the HSE will approve the revised approach in the very near future. This reviewed approach will build on progress made to date, which includes the provision of awareness and training programmes such as safeTALK and ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), National Mental Health Awareness Campaigns as well as the Guidelines for Post-Primary Schools on Mental Health & Suicide Prevention which were jointly developed with the Department of Education and Skills.

HSE Legal Costs

Questions (581, 582)

John Browne

Question:

581. Deputy John Browne asked the Minister for Health if he will explain and justify the amount of legal fees expended by the Health Service Executive in 2012; if he will explain and justify the significant increase in legal fees expended in 2012 over 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30297/13]

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John Browne

Question:

582. Deputy John Browne asked the Minister for Health if he will provide the names of the solicitor firms and barristers who received payments from the Health Service Executive in 2012 for legal work and the amounts paid to each; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30298/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 581 and 582 together.

As the Deputy's questions refer to HSE operational matters I have referred them to the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive for attention and direct reply to him.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (583)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

583. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if and when an appointment-admission will be arranged at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin for a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30301/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Improving access to outpatient services is a key priority for the Government. Collaborating with individual hospitals, the SDU together with the NTPF and the HSE have developed the OP waiting list minimum dataset that allows for data to be submitted to the NTPF from hospitals on a weekly basis and, for the first time, outpatient data is available on www.ntpf.ie. For 2013, a maximum waiting time target has been set of 12 months for a first time consultant led outpatient appointment and this is reflected in the HSE service plan. The SDU/NTPF will work closely with hospitals towards achievement of the maximum waiting time.

The management of inpatient and daycase waiting lists for patients awaiting public health care is based on the principle that after urgent and cancer patients are treated, then clinically assessed routine patients should be seen in chronological order (i.e. longest waiter first). Should the patient's general practitioner consider that the patient's condition warrants an earlier appointment, he/she would be in the best position to take the matter up with the consultant and hospital involved.

In relation to the specific query raised by the Deputy regarding an appointment/admission for an individual patient, as this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy in this matter.

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (584)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

584. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health if the income guidelines for a medical card for those aged between 66 and 70 have increased since 2003; if he will detail the current thresholds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30304/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The income guidelines for Medical Cards were last increased in 2005 in line with increases in Social Welfare payments. The current income guidelines for applicants aged between 66 and 70 are set out in the following table as requested by the Deputy.

-

Medical Card

Net Weekly Rate

GP Visit Card

Net Weekly Rate

Single Person Living Alone

€201.50

€302.00

Single Person Living with Family

€173.50

€260.00

Married Couple / Single Parent Families with Dependent Children

€298.00

€447.00

These income guidelines can be found online at the following link: http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/list/1/schemes/mc/MCGPVCincomeguidelines.pdf.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (585)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

585. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the expected timeframe in which a person (details supplied) in County Cavan will receive their hip-replacement operation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30307/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The management of inpatient and daycase waiting lists for patients awaiting public health care is based on the principle that after urgent and cancer patients are treated, then clinically assessed routine patients should be seen in chronological order (i.e. longest waiter first). Should the patient's general practitioner consider that the patient's condition warrants an earlier appointment, he/she would be in the best position to take the matter up with the consultant and hospital involved.

In relation to the specific query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.